Photo by Marta Evry

For decades Venice has been a mecca for artists seeking the raw, free, and unfiltered spirit that is plastered across its muraled walls and comes to life along its weird and wonderful boardwalk.

This Thursday night the Venice Chamber of Commerce will be bringing that experience live to your living room as the Venice Art Crawl streams its 10th anniversary event.

From 6 to 10 p.m. the Venice Art Crawl Instagram will go live with a series of workshops and performances as quirky and captivating as the very streets of Venice. Highlights from the schedule include an ice sculpture carved by chainsaw, surprise performance art, a vertical garden workshop, a speech by Councilman Bonin, and a meditation to put your children to sleep so that you can stay tuned for the DJ shows.

“Venice has historically been a bohemian artists conclave. It’s where everybody comes to be free. It’s not exclusive, it’s inclusive.” said Sunny Bak who is organizing the Art Crawl. “I think there are more and more people that have come to Venice that don’t know the history of Venice and those are the people I hope we can engage through the Art Crawl.”

The Venice Art Crawl is a non-profit group run by volunteers through a committee of the Venice Chamber of Commerce. Its mission is “to preserve the arts in Venice, a place that has historically been known as a vibrant and dynamic art community, and to share, inspire and promote collaboration within the Venice community through mixers and art events.”

The crawl began in 2010 as the brainchild of Daniel Samako, the owner of James Beach, and Edizen Stowell, the Co-Founder of Venice Paparazzi. For the first three years it took place on the third Thursday of every month. Artists would bring their work out to the boardwalk and locals would gather to socialize, admire the art, purchase pieces and speak with the creators.

“The founders talked about trying to make the boardwalk safer at night and trying to have more activity on Thursday nights,” said Bak. “It really was this amazing community event where everybody would go out and see their friends and neighbors.”

As the Art Crawl grew and became harder to coordinate, the organizers decided to run it on four Thursdays during the summer, and despite the pandemic, organizers have decreed this summer will be no exception.

On June 6, the Art Crawl partnered with the Mar Vista Arts Coalition to host an 8-hour livestream festival featuring artist talks, workshops, and musical performances. As this month marks the 10th anniversary of the Art Crawl, organizers have put together a packed lineup for Thursday’s event.

“It’s going to be a special art crawl where we have an eclectic variety of artists from all over the world with some kind of a Venice connection. There will be a lot of Venice locals and a lot of former Venice locals,” said Bak. A benefit of the virtual format is that it allows anyone who has enjoyed the Art Crawls over the years to tune in from wherever they live.

The event will go live at 6 p.m. on Thursday on Instagram at @veniceartcrawl.

clara@smdp.com